Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast, or just someone who appreciates a darn good view, you definitely need to check out Checkerboard Hill in Hong Kong. My favourite place in the city, I always pay it a visit every time I head back to my second home.
As a young pilot, I played a lot of Flight Simulator before I got my hands on the controls of real aircraft. One specific airport I remember however was the Kai Tak airport approach in Hong Kong; known infamously by pilots as having a tricky, curved final approach. For non-pilots, a final approach is normally a straight path down to the runway, but for Hong Kong’s old airport, it needed to be curved because the mountains were in the way. It wasn’t until I was studying in Hong Kong that I realized I was living 5 minutes from this landmark, and I had never bothered to check it out; I’m glad I did.
The hill isn’t anything to marvel at these days; you can barely make out the aircraft red and white checkerboard pattern anymore, but the hill offers something even better; an unparalleled view of the city. Head up there to see a unique view of Kowloon, and the not-so-often seen East part of the island.
How to Get To The Hill
Take the Kwun Tong (green) line to Lok Fu station, and follow this map; it will take you to the park on top of the hill. It’s not available on Google Maps, but once you reach the end pin on the map, there are stairs heading down to the lower section of the park, where you can get a good view of the whole thing.
How To Get The Best View
You’re going to have to hop the fence. If you’re good at it, head to the front of the park at the top of the hill and find where the tall fence meets the short one. There is a small section without barbed wire that is easy enough to climb over (and definitely worth the risk). Once you hop over on the other side, you find yourself face to face with another big fence; troubling, but no worries, simply walk to your right where there is an opening to the other side. Walk out (careful not to fall off the edge) and you’re standing on the edge of the former checkerboard hill with the best view of Hong Kong you’ve ever seen.